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Sat, 08.12.2017

White Activist Murdered in Charlottesville Demonstration


Heather Heyer

On this date in 2017, a white-American anti-violence demonstrator was killed by a Neo-Nazi sympathizer in Charlottesville, VA.

Heather D. Heyer died when she was run down by an automobile deliberately driven into the crowd of demonstrators by James Alex Fields Jr.  Friends described her as a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised who was often moved to tears by the world’s injustices.  That sense of conviction led her to join demonstrators protesting a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va. “We were just marching around, spreading love, and then the accident happened,” a friend, Marissa Blair, said. “In a split second you see a car, and you see bodies flying.”

Heyer, 32, who lived in Charlottesville, spoke out against inequality and urged co-workers to be active in their community. “Heather was a very strong woman,” said Alfred A. Wilson, manager of the bankruptcy division at the Miller Law Group in Charlottesville, where Ms. Heyer worked as a paralegal.  She stood up against “any type of discrimination,” he said. “That’s just how she’s always been,” Wilson said in an interview the next day that he found her at her computer crying many times. A couple of years ago, she was dating someone who became agitated after learning that her manager Wilson was Black and they were friends. “She just didn’t like the way he was judging me as a minority male that’s doing well for myself,” Wilson said, adding that Ms. Heyer stopped seeing the man after that.

She often posted messages on Facebook about equality and love, said Blair. Wilson hired Ms. Heyer at the recommendation of a friend. She had a high school diploma but did not have a background in law.  Instead, she was a bartender and waitress, but he said she had an eye for detail and was “a people person.” “If you can get people to open up to you, that’s what I need,” he told her. “I’ll teach you everything about the law you need to know.” Heather D. Heyer was a native of Greene County and graduated from William Monroe High School.

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